Card with the statement Goal 16:Peace, justice and strong institutions on table one of the goals of the SDGs and a symbol.

Closing the Divide: Strengthening World Bank Goals to Fight Inequality

Professor Joseph Stiglitz, high-level representatives from the German and Sierra Leonian Governments, and the Executive Director of Oxfam International will call on the World Bank to urgently introduce new goals and indicators to ensure a rapid reduction in inequality both at national and global levels. The panel comes as the new World Corporate Scorecard is being negotiated under President Banga which will direct the Bank’s work, and pressure is growing on the World Bank to do more to tackle inequality. The gap between rich and poor is rising in four out of ten of the countries where the World Bank works, but there is increasing momentum for a change of course, and both governmental and non-governmental actors are calling for bolder goals and targets to tackle inequality and measure progress.*

High-level panel on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF
Thursday October 12, 3:30–4:15 p.m.
Room SB06 Tarfaya, Bab Ighli Campus, Marrakech

Speakers include:

  • Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University
  • H.E. Sheku A. F. Bangura, Minister of Finance, Sierra Leone
  • H.E. Niels Annen, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany
  • Amitabh Behar, Executive Director, Oxfam

Moderator: Sarah Cliffe, Executive Director, NYU Center on International Cooperation

The critical need for the World Bank to set stronger goals on inequality now.

  • We live in a time of extraordinarily high economic inequality, which corrodes our politics, destroys trust, fuels division, hamstrings our collective economic prosperity, and weakens multilateralism. The gap between the richest and the rest of society is dangerously high.
  • The evidence is clear that without a sharp reduction in inequality, the goals of ending poverty and preventing climate breakdown will be impossible to attain.
  • At the same time advances in inequality data have been dramatic, such as more accurate estimates of the incomes of the richest, can help enable a new generation policy-making focused on closing the divide.
  • The World Bank is uniquely placed to offer the rallying call for a reduction in inequality that our divided world needs so urgently today. In July 2023, over 225 economists and inequality leaders wrote to World Bank President Ajay Banga calling on the World Bank to strengthen its indicators and goals on inequality as part of the World Bank Evolution Roadmap/Corporate Scorecard process. This included four former World Bank Chief Economists and many other former World Bank staff.
  • The Annual Meetings provide a critical moment for the World Bank to commit to bolder targets to reverse the explosion of inequality, so that societies can make rapid progress on health, education and social protection, and effectively address the climate crisis.

Press contact: paula.sevilla [at]


*The Call to Action to save SDG10 is co-chaired by the Governments of Namibia and Sierra Leone and sponsored by UNAIDS, Oxfam, Development Finance International and NYU CIC-Pathfinders. Other countries that have expressed their support for the initiative include Colombia, the Maldives, Mexico, Spain, and Zambia. It aims to dramatically accelerate efforts to reduce inequality, under SDG 10, by 1) using more accurate indicators to measure inequality under SDG10 and Shared Prosperity, across all levels of income and wealth, within and among countries; 2) setting ambitious targets for these indicators, at optimal levels for accelerating progress on the other SDGs; 3) a revolution in inequality data, with the international community increasing investments so all countries track progress annually; and 4) national, regional & global anti-inequality plans supported by international cooperation. The coalition was officially launched with partner member states during the 2023 High-Level Political Forum of the United Nations, and organized a world leaders’ gathering on the sidelines of the 2023 SDS Summit.

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